Winner of The Dave Greber Non Fiction Social Justice Writing Award

The Dave Greber Non Fiction Social Justice Writing Award was established by Shirley Dunn, Dave’s partner, to honour his memory and his wishes to study in Israel. Dave was a prolific Canadian, working writer who was committed to the rigorous professionalism of non-fiction freelance writing.

In the last decade of his life, Dave wrote at length about his experiences as a child of Holocaust survivors and, through continued research, he gave voice to the knowledge of other survivors. Much of his writing reflects a sense of urgency about issues of social justice in Canada and the wider world now bound together by the process of globalization. He recognized that the current world was still prone to violence and genocide that kills many and haunts its survivors. Dave continuously pursued the need for non-violent solutions and he recognized the chronic need that exists for the healing of brutalized lives. Dave devoted his personal energy through his writing and he actively sought ways to build man’s humanity to man.

Bar-Ilan University was chosen to award The Dave Greber Non Fiction Social Justice Writing Award annually to a graduating student in the Shaindy Rudoff Creative Writing Graduate Program, for excellence in writing, research and storytelling.

Rachel Weiss is the first winner of the award, selected unanimously for her essay, “The Jungle.” Rachel made aliyah from Cleveland, Ohio, three years ago, with her husband and three teenaged children, and now lives in Jerusalem.

In a letter of thanks to Shirley Dunn, Rachel wrote the following:

I am honored to be this year’s recipient. This opportunity meant so much to me, on several different levels. First, it gave me the opportunity to put into practice many of the skills and insights I have gained during the past two years, as a student in Bar-Ilan’s Shaindy Rudoff Program in Creative Writing. This essay contest lends an added level of seriousness to a program that is very focused on helping its students produce finished and publishable work.

But even more than this, on a personal level, the Dave Greber Nonfiction Social Justice Award gave me the opportunity to explore and gain insight about a very painful topic – school bullying. While I had resisted exploring this topic for a number of years, I knew that I would eventually need to gain a greater understanding about what had happened to my son. After two years of studying Creative Non-Fiction at Bar Ilan, I was finally ready to begin this process.  And this essay contest prodded me to do the work I needed to do.  

 I am so grateful for the personal insights I gained as a result of writing the essay. And I am also gratified to know that the essay has already touched others. In fact, several readers have approached me to express ways in which they identified with what I wrote.  So, the Dave Greber Nonfiction Social Justice Award has already given both me and others the opportunity to reach greater insight and clarity about the very painful subject of bullying.